UK trade risk from foreign low carbon competitors

UK trade risk from foreign low carbon competitors
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Kletr

As the UK readies trade talks with the EU, a new report warns key business sectors will have to decarbonise to stay competitive and exploit growth in the low carbon market post-Brexit.

Major UK export sectors – including the automotive and chemicals industries – risk losing out to foreign competition if they don’t adapt in time to fast rising global demand for low carbon goods and services.

The report – UK trade in a decarbonising world – is a combined industry effort published by CAFOD, Christian Aid, RSPB, Green Alliance, Greenpeace and WWF

“As we respond to the challenges and opportunities of decarbonisation, the bar has been raised even higher,” said Siemens CEO Jürgen Maier speaking at the launch of the report today (29 Nov).

He added: “The UK has a major challenge to increase productivity as well as reduce carbon emissions. These twin challenges are interlinked.

“The UK ‘Made Smarter’ review highlighted that, by investing in the latest digital technologies, we can boost industrial productivity by 25 per cent and reduce carbon emissions by 4.5 per cent by 2025. UK policy in these critical areas is now needed to drive international competitiveness.”

Christine Allen, director of policy at Christian Aid, said: “In future all trade has to be low carbon. The Paris climate agreement has shifted countries all over the world onto a trajectory of cleaner development, and blown the starting whistle on a race for new the technologies and markets needed to tackle climate change.

“British aid and climate finance are assisting the poorest countries hit hardest by climate impacts. Britain is also in pole position to be a leader in low carbon trade.

“There are real risks that the City remains wedded to fossil fuels rather than setting the global gold standard for green finance. That would not be good for Britain or the climate.

“The government’s recent Clean Growth Strategy and Industrial Strategy, announced this week, have together set the UK on the right course.

“Cross government alignment is now needed on domestic and international policy, to support UK businesses in building the expertise the world is now demanding.”